By Archishma Iyer
(Reuters) – India’s blue-chip stock indexes eased from record highs on Monday, with the Sensex ending a 11-session winning streak, as investors remained cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision.
The benchmark Nifty 50 fell 0.3% to 20,133.3 points, while the S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.4% to 67,596.8 points.
Both benchmarks had gained nearly 2% each last week and closed at record highs.
Sectorally, heavyweight information technology stocks led losses on the benchmark, slipping 0.7%, while metals dropped 1.1%.
Aluminium producer Hindalco and India’s biggest private lender HDFC Bank were the top individual losers on the Nifty 50, falling 2.4% and 2% respectively.
“There are potential sources of intermittent volatility, such as the U.S. Fed’s actions, rising commodity prices (especially crude oil), among others,” Milind Muchhala, executive director at Julius Baer India said.
Mid-cap and small-cap stocks, which had turned volatile recently amid concerns over valuations, shed 0.4% and 0.5% respectively.
Investors now await the policy decision of the world’s largest central bank, due Wednesday, in which it is expected to stand pat on rates.
Additionally, China’s property sector – a key metals consumer – remained under pressure despite positive economic data.
India’s public sector banks, meanwhile, rose for the fourth straight day, climbing 3.4% to a fresh record high, although broader banking stocks slipped 0.5%.
“The rally is amid improved net interest income due to the high interest rate environment and large-cap PSU banks are better placed compared to their peers,” said Rahul Sharma, market strategist and head of research at Equity99.
Private lender Dhanlaxmi Bank ended 4.4% higher after opening lower, after an independent director quit over the weekend, citing differences with the board.
Power producer NTPC advanced 2.1% after Reuters reported that its mining arm will explore overseas sourcing of battery minerals.
(Reporting by Archishma Iyer; Editing by Varun H K)